Use Specialty Equipment Where Available "Injuries tend to start with your upper back and neck," explained Young, "and one of the worst things you can do is cradle the phone to your neck with your shoulder."Rogers recommends that people who do even a little data entry or read from documents while on the computer buy an inexpensive document holder. "Remember that your eyes lead your posture, and if the objects you are looking at are out of the way, your posture will strain. Put the document holder on the side of your eye dominance." While trading in one keyboard for another that fits the user better is not always an option, Rogers suggests that people who can, should. "A lot of narrow-shouldered women get in trouble with the standard keyboard. A keyboard should be the same width as your shoulders," said Rogers. Move Around "People go to the chiropractor and get massages and then go back to the same chair," said Young. "Unsurprisingly, their injuries return." All of the experts emphasized the importance of moving around throughout the day, whether through simple stretches, programs that prompt people to take a break, or by refilling your water glass or standing to complete tasks when you can. "One of the misnomers about repetitive strain injury is that the repetitive motion is at fault. The real evil is the static posture," said Rogers. Rogers pointed out that although people have done repetitive work for hundreds of years without getting injured, the difference today is that we rarely move around when we work. Read reminds people that not all "desk tasks" need to be done while sitting. "Get your butt out of the chair as much as possible. You can talk on phone while standing; you can stand to read a document," said Read. Young offered more specific tactics to ensure that people are getting enough blood flowing. "People do not take enough breaks," said Young, who encourages her clients to drink a lot of water so, at the very least, theyll need to rise once an hour to make the trek to the restroom. "Every 10 minutes or so, rest your hands for 10 to 12 seconds and give your wrists time to recover. People tend to stop breathing, or breathe shallowly from the chest when they are stressed. Put your pen down and let go of your mouth and practice deep diaphragm breathing," said Young. Rogers shoots down the notion that all those breaks will affect work output. "If you do shoulder rolls or simple stretches every 20-30 minutes and walk around for five minutes every hour, you keep your perspective fresh and your mind active. In the end, youll be more productive." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management issues.
Young said that there was little excuse for workers not to use a headset these days, considering that one can be purchased inexpensively at Radio Shack or office supply stores.